State Opera of South Australia

State Opera South Australia (SOSA) is a professional opera company in Adelaide, South Australia, established in 1976.



State Opera South Australia was established in 1976 as a statutory corporation under the State Opera of South Australia Act 1976,[1][2] an initiative of Don Dunstan.[3] The board created by this act reported to Arts SA (later Arts South Australia) from 1993 to 2018, when it started reporting directly to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.[4]

Its aim is to "present, produce, manage and conduct operatic performances that attract a diverse local, national and, potentially, international audience."[5]

Its artistic director and CEO from 2011 until 2017[6] was Timothy Sexton before his "shock resignation"[7] following charges of abuse of teenage girls[8] for which he was sentenced to a maximum of 14 years in prison.[9] Artistic director Stuart Maunder and executive director Yarmila Alfonzetti commenced in early 2018, and their first annual program was announced in September 2018.[10][11]

In September 2022, Mark Taylor was appointed as Executive Director joining the company from Opera Queensland, a company he served for 12 years, leaving his role as the Director of Learning, Regional and Community.[12]

In 2022, the company created the Australian Opera Digital Library where a selection of operas, curated by Stuart Maunder, by Australian composers are available for free to registered users.[13]

Notable productions


Awards and nominations


ARIA Music Awards


The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony held by the Australian Recording Industry Association. They commenced in 1987.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2007 Wagner: Das Rheingold (with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra & Asher Fisch) Best Classical Album Nominated [17]


  1. ^ "State Opera of South Australia Act 1976, Version: 12.5.2011" (PDF). 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  2. ^ "State Opera of South Australia Act 1976". Government of South Australia. Attorney-General's Dept. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Donald Allan Dunstan". Flinders Ranges Research. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  4. ^ "About arts and culture". South Australia. Dept of the Premier and Cabinet. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  5. ^ "About". State Opera of South Australia. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  6. ^ "State Opera of South Australia to conduct review after CEO and artistic director Tim Sexton resigns" by Patrick McDonald, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 8 May 2017
  7. ^ Strahle, Graham (15 November 2017). "State Opera of SA at a crossroads". The Adelaide Review. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Former State Opera SA chief Timothy Sexton found guilty of sexually abusing teenage music students". ABC News. Australia. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  9. ^ Mahalia Carter (2 July 2021). "Former SA State Opera chief Timothy Sexton sentenced in Adelaide for abusing teenage girls". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  10. ^ Nguyen, Justine (27 September 2018). "State Opera South Australia showcases Australian works in 2019". Limelight. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  11. ^ Strahle, Graham (7 November 2018). "Taking opera to the people". The Adelaide Review. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  12. ^ Danesin, Laura (24 August 2022). "State Opera South Australia announces new Executive Director". State Opera South Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  13. ^ Michael Kaufmann. "State Opera South Australia launches digital library". On Air & Online. Limelight. No. June 2022. p. 56.
  14. ^ "Wagner's Ring Cycle in Adelaide" (PDF). National Library of Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  15. ^ Smith, Steve (2 May 2010). "A Role for the Roiling Sea as Ahab Hunts His Whale". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Le grand macabre: Adelaide Festival (Australia), 26 February 2010". Opera Britannia. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  17. ^ ARIA Award previous winners. "ARIA Awards – Winners by Award". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 12 November 2018.